One of the common complaints that we hear is about back pain, sometimes referred to as back strain. In reality, back pain is a relatively broad subject that involves the tendons, muscles and ligaments and is often referred to as a soft-tissue issue. In approximately eight out of 10 cases, back or neck pain is associated with the muscles.
Some of the strains that occur in the back are associated with the ligaments or the tendons, which are responsible for connecting muscles to the spine. It is not uncommon for inflammation to occur in the area and lead to pain. In addition, the abdominal muscles also play a role in your ability to lift and they supply support to the spine. When the abdominal muscles are weak or strained, it can also lead to a problem with back pain as well.
What Are the Causes and Symptoms of Back Pain?
The most obvious symptom of back pain is pain itself, which is often felt as a spasm in the area of the muscle strain. Any of the muscles in the back can experience such a spasm and it is often a result of injury to the area. The pain may also be associated with the intervertebral discs, as the nerves in the area may be compressed or pinched. At times, contractions will come and go in waves but at other times, they can be steady. Diagnosing the reason why you are experiencing a problem with back pain is very important factor inyour overall treatment. Your physician has a number of different ways that they can diagnose back pain, including the following:
Examination - One of the first things that your doctor will do is to provide you with a physical examination, which may be able to locate the pain source.
Medical History - A close look at your medical history may also reveal some of the reasons why you may be experiencing back pain as well.
X-rays - Although the muscles will not be seen through x-rays, it will show the bones in the area and can display any problems that exist in the spine.
CT scan - Problems with the discs or the presence of a tumor may be shown with a CT scan. After being provided with a local anesthetic, a dye will be injected into the area to make it possible for the problem to display clearly during the scan.
MRI - This procedure provides a detailed view of what is taking place inside of the body. It is similar to an x-ray but it goes into much more detail, including soft tissues of the body and various parts of the spine.
Discography - After being provided with a local anesthetic, a dye is injected into the area where the pain is being experienced. Both a CT scan and x-ray are performed during a discography and it can give an overview of what is taking place that could be leading to the pain. It is often given if you are experiencing a problem with a disc to provide further analysis before the operation takes place.
Bone Scan - The benefit of using a bone scan is that it can detect a number of issues that occur in the spine, including fractures, cancer, infection and arthritis.
Injections - At times, your physician may provide you with an injection that numbs the area. Not only does it provide you with almost immediate relief, it can also provide additional information to the physician in order to determine what is taking place that is leading to the pain.
How Back Pain is Treated ?
After you have been properly diagnosed and the problem has been revealed, a form of treatment will be provided that will be specific to your needs. In some cases, it may be necessary for you to use hot and cold treatments or to get some bed rest, along with taking anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the pain. At other times, however, it may be recommended that you go through physical therapy, either at home or in the presence of a qualified physical therapist to help strengthen the area and to ultimately reduce the pain that you are experiencing. It is only if the nonsurgical treatments are ineffective that surgery is considered.